Azor - thanks for recommending Haidt's book to me a while ago. I really enjoyed it. He has some criticism for the "New Atheists". It's always good to be challenged.
His explanation of political divisions is very timely.
I will add some more details later this evening. Just briefly to address LUHE's question. Haidt is talking about a relatively recent development. Generic beliefs and superstitions are very ancient and resulted from hypersensitive agency detectors. Nothing new in that proposition. But he goes further and proposes religion as a second phase. One that made it possible for larger groups to bond who were not genetically related. The evolution of the "Hive Switch" was a leap forward and it was the rituals of religion that initially triggered it.
As Azor mentioned Haidt draws a sharp distinction between the emphasis on individual rights in "WEIRD" cultures like ours (Western; Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic) and the culture of communal ethics that exists elsewhere. There are some really interesting experimental results on the differences in culturally shaped ethics but they are all underpinned by the same set of universal intuitions. Sacredness is one of them.
His suggestion is that we are losing something that is an ingrained intuition of our human nature, shaped by evolution. Further he explains the success of the right in politics and the problems of the liberal parties in terms of the right's ability to speak to a wider range of human moral intuitions beyond the care instinct.